The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

Malnutrition in Palestine

Fatima Shbair/AP
As the Gaza Strip enters its 20th week of conflict with Israel, a surge of acute malnutrition has compromised mainly women’s and children’s health and immunity. An international committee of experts declared that particularly Northern Palestine will approach a famine. A wish for help from the UN has increased as Palestinians watch their loved ones starve to death each day.

Though Palestine and Israel have endured intense bloodshed since the late 19th century, 2023 marked the deadliest year for Palestinians as the number of Palestinians killed has surpassed 30,000. After the brutal attack on Hamas October 7, 2023, Palestine has faced a severe humanitarian crisis and near genocide. Survivors of the conflict, however, live in a difficult position as malnutrition has skyrocketed in northern Palestine. 

July 2023, Palestinians experienced low birth weights, protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) and micronutrient deficiency. Palestinians advocated for an immediate need for the United Nations (UN) to combat food insecurity. Months later, however, the issue of malnutrition worsened due to the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, where food and safe water have become extremely scarce.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) reported that almost the entire population in the Gaza Strip currently or will soon face famine. While allied countries do their foremost job to support Palestine by giving them aid through aircraft, other countries worry that the way of transportation does not efficiently combat food insecurity in Palestine because of its sluggishness and inability to provide for everyone. The UN has warned that in the next two months, Palestine’s food insecurity issues will cause the number of mainly women and children starving to death to increase rapidly.

The IPC defines famine as an extreme deprivation of food where starvation, death, and extremely critical levels of acute malnutrition exist. Famine occurs when households face a lack of food, children suffer from acute malnutrition and two adults or four children per 10,000 people die each day from starvation or acute malnutrition. 

Sunday, March 10, marked the beginning of Ramadan—a month of intense spiritual rejuvenation, during which Muslims spend time reading the Qur’an, fasting and performing special prayers. This year, however, Ramadan looks different for Palestinians — a predominantly Muslim population — as their fasting appears involuntary.

“It really is heartbreaking to see the levels of desperation, hunger and hopelessness across the entirety of the Strip. So many mothers go to sleep listening to the cries of their children because they are still hungry. And many parents who are skipping meals day by day by day just to ensure their children have something every evening,” Matthew Hollingworth, the Palestine director for the United Nations’ World Food Programme said.

While aid trucks have traveled to Gaza to provide assistance, the demand for food overrides the relief. Crowds rushing to an aid convoy in Gaza City killed over 100 Palestinians after immense trampling and trucks running over people.

“As a Palestinian-American, it’s devastating. Ramadan is supposed to be our holy month where we get closer to God, but there are too many things that are making the month less happy for Palestinians and more about staying alive than increasing faith. I hope that the aid can actually get to the people in Gaza and they need to be supported so that the entire population does not collapse and get wiped out,” magnet senior Kesh Harmes said.

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About the Contributor
Lauren Lee
Lauren Lee, Copy Editor
Lauren Lee, a senior at NC, is an editor for The Chant. She joined in January 2022 during her sophomore year. She loves writing about recent global events and health crises; she finds a way to turn these topics into impactful and enticing articles. She can be seen reading the New York Times daily to research information about national and global issues. Helping others become better writers and finding their passion also lies in her interests. When she is not writing, she is volunteering at food banks, spending time with family and friends  and shopping.   

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